On May 16, 2014, I participated in the Audubon Society’s Birdathon, a challenge to observe as many bird species within a single 24-hour period as possible. This was my eighth year participating in the event, all of which took place wholly or in part in the Adirondack Park. For the fourth time in five years,
The big day has finally arrived; the 2014 Birdathon is finally here. Not a moment too soon either! The excitement is palatable, waking me numerous times during the early morning hours before the sun makes even a faint appearance. Each time I do my best barred owl impression, trying to tempt one to respond. Greeting
With at least half of the way to Cropsey Pond to go, my 2014 Birdathon adventure has been a wet one so far. Although missing the worst of it by sitting it out in my car, the rain returned as soon as I was far enough from my vehicle to rule out a hasty retreat.
Heavy rain is not the ideal weather for the beginning of a bushwhacking trip. Logs and fallen leaves become slippery, streams overflow their banks and mud becomes ubiquitous, especially during mid-spring in the Adirondacks. This is especially true during the Birdathon in the Pepperbox Wilderness. Unfortunately, the predicted wet weather gave me little choice this
This year’s Birdathon results from within the Pepperbox Wilderness of the Adirondack Park were less than stellar. With only 46 species, it was the second lowest count for the seven years in which I participated. A severe head cold, recent beaver dams, a black bear and lack of some common species contributed to the low turn-out.
The morning after any Birdathon is fraught with frustration and bitterness, as avian species not observed the previous day suddenly appear, gleefully rubbing my face in the fact they evaded detection. Despite this dread, I woke in early morning after the Birdathon 2013 enjoying the morning chorus near the southwestern corner of Sunshine Pond; luckily,
Time is running out. Reaching the dead period of mid-afternoon, the chances of producing a stellar bird list for my first Birdathon in two years is decreasing rapidly with every passing moment. Birds no longer sing with the fervor of the early morning hours, leaving visual identification of new species my most important chance of
The worst thing about crossing a beaver dam in the Adirondacks is that sometimes you just do not know what you are going to find on the other end. Sometimes the conditions are obvious from the other side, but often it is not. This is the case when I cross a beaver dam (point #13
Beavers. They ruined my Birdathon experience this year. Well, ruined may be strong a word, foiled is probably better. Those industrious rodents are either boon or bane while birding (and bushwhacking) within Adirondack forests. Their ponds, created often by damming streams, provide ample habitat for many species of birds. Long after the beavers’ departure and
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Waking from a deep sleep, it takes me a few seconds to recognize the mechanical screech of my radio’s alarm. Scrambling in the dark, I find my GPS, my compass, my hat and about everything else other than the radio. My hand finally connects with the small radio and I switch off the alarm,